Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 1-59116-390-0
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     June 19, 2004
Release Date: May 01, 2004

Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol.#02
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Sadamoto Yoshiyuki (Concept by: Gainax)
Translated by:Lillian Olsen
Adapted by:

What They Say
a flaming sword which turned every way

Japan's most controversial anime series is over... but not the manga version of Neon Genesis Evangelion! Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's personal interpretation of the Evangelion characters and the story is sure to intrigue new and old fans alike.

Beaten unconscious in his first sortie, Shinji recovers from an encounter he neither understands nor remembers. Moving in with his superior officer, the lovely Capt. Katsuragi, Shinji tries to start a "normal" life in school...

The Review
Viz uses some more Sadamoto art on a matted cover, but for some reason they do not use the original cover. The background is full of purple and blues making the large Eva look even more monstrous.

Logo Check!! (©2003 Megs)... the logo Viz uses is similar to the one used by ADV on their DVDs. The times roman font is nowhere near as dramatic as the original logo but it is familiar and looks clean.

Inside Viz passed on the original intro/two-page color spread that was originally after the volume header (which Viz once again uses for the back cover art). This missing two-page spread has an image featuring a bandaged Ayanami Rei relaxing by the school pool surrounded by a short blurb describing the world Sadamoto's characters are in. A little disappointed that this is not in there since Viz did include the mangaka notes (which were originally on a dust jacket flap), an interview with Sadamoto (who was also the character designer of the anime series) and messages from Ogata Megumi (voice actress for the role of Ikari Shinji) and Asari Yoshitou (designer of Angels: Sachiel, Shamshel and Zeruel). For those looking for the etchi original volume header featuring Misato in daisy dukes posing on her Honda mini-motorbike, it has been moved to the Sadamoto interview (and has been shrunk to less than 1/4 its original size ) .

They also passed on the lush color pages that were featured in the Kadokawa Shoten version. Instead we get ads for: Gundam: the Origin, Excel Saga and Battle Angel Alita: Last Order graphic novels, as well as Project Arms and Great Dangaioh DVDs.
The printing is not too bad. There is a slight difference between this and the original - Viz's version is a tad dark but still good.

Having created the character designs for the animated version Sadamoto's designs are familiar and perfectly reproduced on paper. His designs may be a little leggy and often have heads that look like turnips, but his lines are strong and his expressions are subtle but powerful (which is critical with these personalities).

Presented in its original right to left this new printing is now in a tall B6 (which is Viz's current standard size). SFX have been translated in a glossary at the back of the book. Viz's glossaries feature the literal kana translation as well as an appropriate translation into English. Nice. Because of the level of detail in Sadamoto?s art, I really appreciate Viz doing this for this series.

Fred Burke and Carl Gustov Horn do a solid job with Lillian Olsen's translation. My issue with added text in volume one has been fixed as the adaptation is almost word for word (well, as much as a translation can be and still make sense). They do not use honorifics, which can be disappointing considering how these characters interact with each other. That interaction will be vital to the plot as the inter-personal drama builds in future volumes (I have to admit I felt a little confused when I did not read "Shinji-kun" in Misato and Ritsuko's dialogue bubbles).

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Much has happened in the hours since Shinji moved to Neo-Tokyo, so in order to give Shinji a sense of family Katsuragi Misato has offered to take the new pilot in to her home as his guardian. On the surface, this may just look like an easy way to monitor a vital part of a highly experimental program, to Misato there is a bit more to it. Yeah, she could feel sorry for the kid. As we saw in the first volume, he does not have the best relationship with his father and right now Shinji really has nowhere else to go. To Misato, Shinji's situation is something she knows well. She has often been alone and as she has felt with her other roommate, an onsen penguin named Pen-pen, she offered her home and her heart to make a family for herself. It may be a selfish thing to do, especially when she does not openly explain it that way but people tend to act selfishly in circumstances like that.
Unfortunately, when there are moments of miscommunication there are no bounds for misinterpretation. With a fragile sense of self-esteem, Shinji could not help but wonder what the motivations were for taking in someone like him in. If his own family would not do it, why would his superior officer do so? Up to this point in life, Shinji has been hurt and his way out of that has been to separate himself from the truths he goes through to escape the pain and confusion and now someone is just offering to help him. Work is not like that. There he is given orders to complete and repeat without question. School is not like that. Instead, he has to be treated like a freak or be picked on by classmates.

When Shinji happens to run into Misato's EVA project notes and notices information about his daily activities and his guestimated temperament, there was no doubt in his mind that this was the reasoning behind. Misato's attitude change from work to home, and once again why would she bother with the trouble of taking him in. Does she really need someone else to do chores for her (well, actually)? To Shinji it has all been an act and he almost fell for it, but now he could just go back to his usual self - the one where he is just there physically as if someone else were experiencing his suffering. It will be easy and then he could go about being the pilot, the tool, his father and Misato want him to be. He can be hurt, he can kill, he can die, and in his mind it would be someone else.

Shinji will be alone again soon - not someone else. His attitude on the field of battle could have not just killed him, but brought in his friends face to face with an angel ignoring orders every step of the way. His punishment would have been easy for someone that was not family, but Misato could not go by the rules with someone she cares for. She was tough on him and she hurt him, but she had to show him she cared. She reacted without making sure he understand all of that, and it came back to hurt them both. Eventually, Shinji runs away from everything. On his own, there is no one to get on your case. There is no one to make you do things or beat you up. On your own, there is only you; no one to talk to or to share moments with. Obviously, there is no one to worry about, but yourself.

After a failed attempt at running away, he is caught by NERV and given the option to continue piloting the EVA or not. When he answered, Misato dismissed him, sending him on his own for his own good. He would be better off with his uncle, she said. That began a whirlwind that would have Shinji doubting about his feelings and Misato questioning her actions. All they wanted was someone else in their lives. They wanted someone else to be there for when they needed it the most, but they could not say it right. Sometimes people just need to say that aloud to others. Sometimes that works better than miscommunication and misinterpretation...

It worked for Misato and Shinji.

Sadamoto's Evangelion is similar to Anno's on the surface. The setting is the same, the characters are the same, and the art is very much the same from what many of us experienced from Gainax. Sadamoto's interpretation of Eva goes about the story in a different route. As his manga is not constricted to half-hour episodes or prime time censorship (there is some nudity in this volume) there is so much more room for freedom and further detail. This version focuses much more on the plights of these characters, giving more time to their thoughts and the personal struggles they go through. Their interactions, so far, make up a majority of the plot while the monster of the week and mighty NERV machine is reduced to afterthoughts and filler. Personally, getting to know this cast better from a different perspective has made a difference on how I see the series as whole. Moreover, while one could have anime and manga compliment each other, I would much rather stick the manga for much less sci-fi babble and better drama. Evangelion purists may not agree with that, and they might to accept Sadamoto's version as an interpretation of the series. I consider it the contrasting perspective from someone who had a good part of what is still one of the more popular anime/manga titles of recent history.

All together, while there are a few packaging issues I would have liked done differently, I have to say this is another solid production of an excellent title. Sadamoto's art is almost enough to carry this title, but getting to experience his perspective not only expands on the series but also is highly entertaining on its own.

Definitely worth another look.


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